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Complete rural access to clean water supply targeted by 2025

Source: Khmer Times
Date: February 19, 2020

The Ministry of Rural Development Royal Government of Cambodia has declared that it is fully committed to ensure full access to supply of clean water in rural communities by 2025.

Chan Darong, Spokesperson and Secretary of State for the ministry said that beside clean water supply, improved sanitation will also be ensured.

According to the spokesperson, rural sanitation access increased from 71 percent in 2017 to 80 percent in 2019. Clean water access in rural areas increased from 50 percent in 2017 to 65 percent in 2019, he added.

The targets set will be achieved through intimate collation with all concerned stakeholders and utilisation of assistances and grants, particularly in the memorandums of understanding with 47 non-governmental organisations.

If treated water supply services are not increased, the number of people who have no clean water to use will increase significantly in the upcoming years, resulting in a rise in fatalities caused by drinking unsafe water.

“Surface water and groundwater are important sources for drinking, but surface water usually contains viruses that cause diarrhoea, while groundwater contains arsenic,” he said. “So we have to address water safety issues and focus on environmental issues that could seriously impact the quality of both surface water and groundwater.”

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Standard Chartered: Sustainable Development a $45B Opportunity for the Private Sector in Vietnam

Source: The Phnom Penh Post
Date: February 7, 2020

To help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, Vietnam presented a $45 billion opportunity for the private sector to invest in sustainable development.

Vietnam presented a $45 billion opportunity for the private sector to invest in sustainable development to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to a recent study by the international banking group Standard Chartered.

The opportunity 2030 study revealed an almost $10 trillion opportunity for private-sector investors across emerging markets, with Vietnam presenting $45.8 billion of that total.

The opportunities for the private sector would come from contributions to three infrastructure-focused goals between now and 2030, including clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, and industry, innovation and infrastructure.

SDG investment opportunities were found transport infrastructure and improving digital access, according to the study.

The study found that to achieve universal digital adoption would require private-sector investment of around $24.4 billion on 2030. The significantly improve the Vietnam’s transport infrastructure would require an estimated investment of $20.1 billion from the private sector.

The potential private-sector investment opportunity in the water sector was smaller, the study noted. However, as 11 percent of Vietnam’s population still did not have access too clean water and sanitation, investment would make a real impact.

To help achieve universal access to clean water by 2030 would require an estimated private-sector investment of $1.3 billion.

“A series of ongoing market reform is making Vietnam an increasingly attractive place for investors. The government is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is working directly with the UN to align its development plans with the SDGs,” Niruk Sapru, CEO Vietnam and ASEAN & South Asia Cluster Markets at Standard Chartered Bank said.

“Opportunity 2030 provides an important map of the SDG opportunities for private sector investors looking to invest with impacts and improve the lives of millions over the next decade, “he stressed.

Statistics showed that now 89 percent of the population got access to clean water and digital access by 2030, which would require total investment of $13.1 billion and $40.7 billion by 2030, respectively.

Vietnam already had universal access to power. However, with a growing economy, there would be an additional need for continual investment in affordable and clean energy to maintain access in a sustainable way, the bank said.

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Ministry of Industry and Handicraft to Be Renamed

Source: Khmer Times
Date: January 25, 2020

Prime Minister Hun Sen has agreed to rename the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft as the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation at the request of Minister Cham Prasidh.

According to a letter from the Council of Ministers to Mr Prasidh issued yesterday, the government has also agreed to amend all existing laws and legal documents, as well as the structure and functioning of the renamed ministry.

In the letter, the government has decided to establish two new units, the General Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation.

“The creation of these two entities requires no additional state framework, using existing frameworks that are relevant to science, technology and innovation,” the letter said.

An inter-ministerial meeting with relevant ministries should be prepared to make draft on the ministry’s structure, and functioning to submit to the cabinet.

The government also instructed the ministry to offer opportunity for key intellectuals, academics with degree in science and technology, as well as innovative and technical officials to work and provide inputs.

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Ministry forecasts ‘favourable’ dry, early rainy season weather

Source: Phnom Penh Post
Date: January 15, 2020

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has issued a weather forecast for this year, which shows that the dry and early rainy season will be more favourable than in previous years due to the influence of El Nino/Southern Oscillation (Enso).

On Monday, its minister Lim Kean Hor issued a weather forecast for the dry season and the early rainy season. He said Enso will play a particularly important role.

Enso refers to variations in winds and sea surface temperatures affecting the climate of much of the tropics and subtropics. The warming phase of the sea temperature is known as El Nino and the cooling phase as La Nina. Enso fluctuates between three phases – Neutral, La Nina or El Nino.

This year, Kean Hor said, the influence of Enso’s neutral phase on Cambodia will reach 60 per cent.

“Checks on the influence of the three phenomena [Neutral, La Nina and El Nino] show that the weather situations for the dry season and early rainy season this year will be better than the dry season and early rainy season of last year,” the notice said.

Despite the good news, the minister called on citizens in remote areas far from water sources to use water economically, explaining that rain in April and May will be scarce and water may be in short supply.

During this year’s dry season, temperatures will rise above the annual average, the notice said. Rainfall will be below the average of the last several years.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has said El Nino will bring more favourable weather this year.

The forecast said the maximum temperature this month will be between 30C and 32C in mountainous and highland provinces.

In central lowland areas, the maximum temperature will reach 33-35C. It will hit 31-33C in coastal areas.

From February, the heat will pick up, reaching its highest point in April. In the meantime, early rains, including rainstorms and lightning strikes, are likely to occur.

The rainy season this year will start during the second week of May, according to the notice, bringing an average or below-average amount of rain that can, nonetheless, be considered normal.

Following the notice, Banteay Meanchey provincial department head Seang Vanseth called on farmers to exercise caution during the dry season, as early rains could create the right conditions for disease-carrying mosquitoes to thrive. The problem could be particularly severe in March and April, he said.

“In general, in those two months, some water sources including lakes, rivers, creeks and wells, will dry up. The increasing heat will create the right conditions for other diseases that affect humans. Farmers must be aware of these dangers and conserve water,” he said.

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NBC Urges Increased Use of Riel in Lending

Source: Phnom Penh Post
Date: August 26, 2019

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) urged financial institutions across the Kingdom to increase the share of local currency in their loan portfolios to at least 10 per cent by the end of this year.

During its 48th Monetary Policy Committee meeting last week, the NBC reminded commercial lenders to comply with the new requirement.

In December 2016, the NBC issued a prakas instructing all banks and MFIs to hold a minimum 10 per cent of their loan portfolio in riel.

The NBC has given commercial lenders until the end of this year to comply.

Kea Borann, AMK (Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea) Microfinance Institution Plc CEO, said local currency accounts for 70 per cent of its total loan portfolios.

Borann, who is also a member of the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) Board of Directors, said: “[Given that] most of our clients are rural farmers and our loans are mostly micro, many of our borrowers need riel for their transactions,” he said.

He added that “around 30 per cent of all MFIs in the Kingdom” would find it difficult to adhere to the NBC’s new requirement, saying those institutions “do not have a lot of operations in the countryside where the riel dominates”.

However, he said: “It’s not a big obstacle because the NBC has provided so much facilitation to ensure the success of the policy.

“I think, eventually, more and more microfinance institutions will succeed in meeting the standard set by the NBC.”

Bun Mony, chairman of Vithey Microfinance Institution, said currently many banks are struggling to lend riel to people even with a lower interest rate.

“I strongly support lending in riel because it will promote the use of the currency,” he said, adding that local currency acoounts for more than 10 per cent of the banks loan portfolios.

President and Group Managing Director of Acleda Bank Plc., In Channy, said riel accounts for 12.5 per cent of its total loan portfolios.

“For Acleda, increasing our share of lending in the local currency is not difficult because the bank serves customers from urban and rural areas,” he said.

Bun Yin, CEO of CIMB Bank Plc, was optimistic that it would meet the NBC’s requirement by the end of this year.

“The share of local currency in CIMB’s loan portfolios has reached seven per cent so far,” he said.

In November last year, Phillip Bank’s general manager Han Peng Kwang said the majority of borrowers in Phnom Penh still prefer to apply for loans in US dollars rather than riel, though some have become more receptive to borrow a portion of their loan in riel.